Paris: the 4 exhibitions not to be missed that will make you travel

A total dazzle. This is the promise, kept, of the Institut du Monde Arabe which is hosting the first part of the major retrospective devoted to Uzbekistan, the crossroads of civilizations between the peoples of the steppes, India, Persia and China. Thanks to its unique strategic position, at the same time political, economic, intellectual and artistic, this multicultural and prosperous region, since located on the silk road borrowed by the merchants, was enriched with the Arab conquest and the advent of Islam in the eighth century. Particularly at the level of textile production, an angle chosen by the museum to impress the visitor.

The course, spread over two floors and 1,100 m2, reveals 300 pieces never released from the national collections. In an atmosphere of contemplation, these treasures of refinement, illustrating the extraordinary know-how of the craftsmen of the time, are presented in front of black picture rails, sublimated by the lighting. The scenography dares verticality by suspending in the air the most beautiful chapans, these prestigious coats embellished with accessories very popular at the court of the emir.

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Thus are the costumes, boots, belts, jewels, carpets, equestrian pageantry in an exceptional state of preservation. You have to raise your eyes to the sky to contemplate a constellation of fifty caps for men, women and children, velvet and silk hats, embellished with gold and silver embroidery. The ornaments, the shape and the pigments are the indicators of the age, the social status of the wearer. Talismanic robes serve as protection against the evil eye, disease and death. As for the essential chapans, covered with floral or plant motifs, weighing up to four kilos, a dozen experienced technicians and some three months of work are needed before obtaining such a garment, which amazes by the meticulousness of its weaving.

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Read also – “At the end of the world” by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a “Lost in Translation” in Uzbekistan

The Louvre makes it possible to continue the fascinating journey to Samarkand and Bukhara, with 170 supporting works. The museum traces the history of a mythical civilization, which has not yet revealed all its secrets: murals, sculptures, crockery, furniture, copies of the Koran…

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Sumptuous kimonos

On the other side of the Seine, the musée du quai Branly also offers a surge of colors and fabrics through the exhibition dedicated to the kimono, the traditional Japanese dress that has existed for more than 1,000 years! Until the middle of the 19th century, everyone wore one, the model differed according to the occupation of the day, the season or the rank of the person. A symbol of luxury, it is still popular today for special occasions, such as weddings. Arranged on the east mezzanine, in the middle of prints, screens, vertical and horizontal scrolls, and everyday objects, nearly 200 kimonos allow you to appreciate the evolution of this emblematic outfit of the country of the Rising Sun. , from samurai schools to catwalks (with creations by Issey Miyake and John Galliano), from kabuki theater actors to international pop stars (Björk, David Bowie).

Often executed in damask silk satin, they also display decorations linked to nature, often cranes, lucky birds evoking longevity. Transcending boundaries and categories over time.

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Feathers and pearls: Black Indians

While below, in the garden gallery, one is captivated by the discovery of the spectacular achievements of the African-American community of New Orleans within the framework of the carnival, in reaction to slavery and segregation. The music resounds throughout the visit, where so many testimonies of the singular culture of the “Black Indians”, with their remarkable spiritual dimension and resilience, parade. Shells, pearls, sequins, feathers and skulls for an explosive cocktail.

On the roads of Samarkand (until June 4).

Splendours of the oases of Uzbekistan (until March 6).

Kimono (until May 28) and Black Indians (until January 15).

Paris: the 4 exhibitions not to be missed that will make you travel